5 differences between box dyes and the dyes used in professional salons

to darken hair

You probably have a friend that just up and decided one day to change their hair color and didn’t think twice when it came time to choose their dye. The result?

After a few weeks, their hair looked dull, porous, and with a lot more volume. To sum up, disappointing.


If you’re considering dyeing your hair and you want to plan out what you’re going to do, then you’re starting in a good place.

I’ll tell you about all of the differences between box dyes – which you can get in supermarkets – and professional grade dyes – which you can get in stores specializing in beauty products. A third option is to pop into a hair salon store, and if you do, you definitely won’t regret it.

In this article, I sum up the 5 main differences between the two kinds of dyes:

  1. Quality
  2. Price
  3. Color
  4. How long it lasts
  5. Assistance


There are many differences, but I’m going to tell you about the most important ones according to my criteria. I hope that knowing them helps you decide when it comes time to pick between the two kinds of dyes.

Don’t be surprised if you decide not to listen to me. Everything I’m about to tell you is very real, and if you don’t believe me, you can try it out yourself. Let’s get started!


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Difference 1: Quality

igora, inoa

The difference in quality is abysmal.

Supermarket box dyes are made out of the most aggressive chemicals out there for your hair.

As days go by, your hair will lose its shine, turn more porous and the color will wash out much quicker. Also, if you want to change your color in the future, you’ll cause more damage to your hair, since they are harder to get out of your hair.


On the other hand,  professional dyes are designed with the latest and greatest color technology available, contain ingredients that are much less risky for your hair and also usually have hydrating ingredients  like, for example, oils or keratin, that in addition to changing your hair color, help nurture and take care of it.

And, if, by chance, you decide to get rid of this color tomorrow, it won’t be as hard or damaging of a job as it would be with a box dye.


Difference 2: Price

color kit

Without a doubt, there is a big difference in how much money you’ll have to pay upfront for these dyes.

It’s undeniable that box dyes from the supermarket are cheaper and easier on your pocket, but keep in mind that the cheaper they are, the lower quality ingredients they’ll have.

On the other hand, professional grade dyes are more expensive, but you’ll see that at the end of the day, they’re worth it because of their superior quality.


Pay attention to this piece of advice:

 To lessen the price of these products so they don’t put you out as much as they might at stores that are for normal consumers, you can look for stores that sell directly to professional salons. 

You can even go to the store to decide which dye you want, then buy it online, where you’ll probably be able to find a cheaper price and have it delivered to your home.


Another factor to keep in mind is that better quality dyes will last in your hair longer. So, if you look at the price long-term, you might end up having to spend a little more upfront, but you’ll save a lot in time, as well as potentially in money since you won’t have to touch up the dye so often.


Difference 3: Color

dyed at the hair salon

When it comes time to choose a color, if you want a box dye, you won’t find so much color variety. The color will also be less intense, which means that as days go by, it will fade.

On the other hand, if you go for a professional grade dye, you’ll have so much variety in the colors you can use that you won’t know which one to choose, and the intensity and shine of your hair will last much longer.


 Another important difference is that supermarket box dyes usually have photos on the boxes, giving you the expectation that your hair will look just like the color of the model on the box’s hair.  

But, well, let me tell you that that is not the case. You always need to consider your base color and not think that it will end up looking exactly like the printed image on the box.


On the other hand, professional dyes aren’t going to give you those kinds of false expectations with those images. Instead, they’re designed so that if you’re not sure which one to choose, you can ask the people working in the store. So, don’t hesitate to ask; the person working there will know which color you should choose.


Difference 4: How long it lasts

re coloring hair

Like I said before, the difference between how long professional dyes versus box dyes last is abysmal.

 Professional products are made with better color technology, which prolongs how long they last. We’re talking them lasting double the amount of time, no more, no less. 


So, the next time you go out to buy a dye, are you going choose the cheaper one that wreaks havoc on your hair, or will you invest a little more in a better dye to wear bright color for longer?

Without a doubt, I’d go for the second choice.


Difference 5: Assistance

quantities for the mix

Have you ever gone to the store to buy a dye with the hope of making a big change in your look?


It’s happened to me: I went and blindly trusted the girl at the store that said that this color was going to look great on me, just like the photo.

Let me tell you about the result!


It wasn’t even close, not even a little bit, to what the girl at the cash register was telling me. I wanted a natural medium blonde and I ended up with orange. Yes, just like you read it: My hair was orange… I cried a lot that day.

I didn’t have any choice but to go spend a fortune at the salon for them to fix it. But, well, that’s a story for another day.


That happens with box dyes: you can’t blindly trust what the people selling them tell you, simply because people that work in the supermarket aren’t prepared to help you make decisions about your hair color or health.

On the other hand, it just so happens that in stores where they sell professional grade dyes, the people working there know about each product they’re selling, and they can help you out when choosing one. That’s great for making sure you don’t end up with a nasty surprise later!


To wrap things up…

I hope that these differences help you when it comes time to choose your next dye. If you ask me which one I’d choose, I’d go to a store where they sell products for hair salons. After learning many lessons from my mistakes, I definitely recommend going with the best option out there.


Be aware that your hair is one of the most noticeable of your physical features. It’s better to invest a little more in it to have it look wonderful. That’s just my humble opinion, what do you think? Professional grade dyes or box dyes from the supermarket?

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